Is a dealership liable for failing to disclose “structural damage” to me?

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Is a dealership liable for failing to disclose “structural damage” to me?

I purchased a 6 year old car from an auto center” a year ago for $9,499; I still owe about $8,200. We found out this weekend that the car had been prior structural damage from an accident according to a carfax where we were going to trade it in at. We’ve been told that the car is worth significantly less than book value due to the “unknown” extent of the damage. Specifically, an estimate of $3,500 value. Is the auto center liable for failure to disclose the damage (and the hugely reduced value)? The bank doesn’t know either.

Asked on February 14, 2012 under General Practice, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the dealership that you purchased the car from knew that it had structural damage or other problems before you purchased it and failed to disclose this to you, then the dealership "concealed" important information from you.

The challenge is for you to prove that the dealership had the knowledge that you are writing about before you bought the vehicle.

Your damages would be the difference between the fair market value of the car when purchased and what you paid for it if you can prove liability. You might consider making a complaint against the dealership with your state's department of motor vehicles in that in many states, this entity regulates car dealerships and responds to consumer complaints regarding them.


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